What inspired the start of Maya Chia?
Maya Chia officially started approximately 8 years ago, but I had the idea several years prior to launch when I was undergoing a detox. As part of that detox, the doctor recommended taking chia seeds. I became curious as to what all the talk was surrounding this superfood. When I learned more, I was floored by the nutritional content. Chia seeds are a true powerhouse, with 8x the omegas of wild caught salmon, and 3x the antioxidants of blueberries. I immediately thought, "is anybody using this powerhouse ingredient in skincare and if not, why not?" Further, in a study published in the annals of dermatology, chia oil was clinically proven to significantly increase skin hydration, reduce trans-epidermal water loss and increase skin barrier function.
Also, it should not go without saying that chia seed oil has been a staple in the Mayan culture for thousands of years. And I have had intimate ties to Central America and the Mayan people since I was a young child - my father volunteered as a cleft lip and palate surgeon in Guatemala many years during my childhood. Fast forward, my two adopted stepsons are Mayan and from a village very close to where my father volunteered so many years earlier. Maya Chia is proud to be a corporate sponsor of Adopt a Village in Guatemala - an amazing grassroots organization that builds schools and teaches the Mayan people sustainable and organic farming practices.
What is your personal favorite Maya Chia product?
Wow, this is like Sophie's Choice. They are all my children. I guess that sounds kind of weird, but they are all a creative part of me. In terms of skincare, the ones that have personally helped my skin the most have been the Superlift Vitamin C-More Treatment, the Advanced Response Complex (ARC) face and neck cream, the Straight A Advanced Gentle Retinol, the Super Blend- Ooh, and I love our Supercritical Cleansing Oil. Oh man, I told you it was too hard to choose!
Why was creating a clean beauty line important to you?
I have loved skincare since I was a child. I am endlessly curious about what makes something work for the skin. Endlessly passionate about making that product the best it can be. I tell friends who are interested in becoming an entrepreneur to find something you are wildly passionate about because it will help to sustain you during the dips in this business. Because there are highs and lows in being an entrepreneur. It all sounds so sexy on paper, but it’s about being obsessed with execution… down to every minute detail.
Can you explain more about why Maya Chia products are so beneficial for overall skin health?
I think our products have become a cult favorite because, quite simply, they work. And we hope they work exceptionally well, and in such a way where you don't feel as if you are giving up anything by using a clean beauty brand. We want customers to use our products and say to themselves, "hey, this product has made a difference" and then over time, "damn, this stuff is good". And then pretty soon, feel compelled to share their love with their mom, best friend and so on.
We work very hard to find the most cutting-edge, high-performance ingredients that have a lot of muscle and proven efficacy. We love to use ingredients that have hard science behind them. We also put a great deal of thought in creating our formulations, so that they are different from what exists in the market. Otherwise, what's the point? We are not driven by slick marketing, and trends. That kind of business is fleeting and short lived. We want to be a part of our customer's lives for the long term. And we never forget for a second what an honor it is to be in their home, and a part of their lives in even the smallest way.
What are some of the hero ingredients featured in the Maya Chia line?
Astaxanthin is a prime example of how we are always searching for the best, high-performance ingredients we can get our greedy lil' paws on. Astaxanthin comes from the microalgae plant, it's what gives Flamingos their rich pink hue (as a side note). This ingredient has been well known for years in the supplement world as one of nature's strongest antioxidants, but only recently seen in the skincare market.
The introduction of astaxanthin in many of our formulations was driven by a spate of clinical research studies extolling the benefits of natural astaxanthin for the skin. Like chia, the benefits of astaxanthin for skin are transformative. People may have heard of astaxanthin as it has gained some national exposure in recent years – as many in the scientific community recognize it has as one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. To give you an idea of its power, research shows astaxanthin as being 6,000x stronger than vitamin C in combating free radicals, 550x stronger than green tea catechins and 75x stronger than alpha lipoic acid (from clinical research by Nishida Y./2007)
Chia and natural astaxanthin are two of the leading natural super ingredients to date, and that’s what excites us as a company. We’re not interested in fly-by-night ingredients or the latest in trends that may not yield the results we’re looking for. We are excited because these ingredients create high-performance products that work, that get results… and in many cases, rather quickly. In all of our formulations, we work hard to create a proprietary synergistic combination of the best ingredients that will deliver on the promise of the particular product and what it’s supposed to do. You can easily incorporate astaxanthin into the skin with The Superlift, The Straight A, Super Couple Face oil and/or The Super Blend pressed serum, and the Eye achiever -all have astaxanthin - as well as a bevy of other high-performance ingredients - as part of their formulation.
Since we launched in December of 2014, the feedback has been overwhelming in the best way. We get the best responses from our customers – whether the product has resolved a stubborn skin condition or made their skin more radiant. We created results-driven products with a reliance on extrapolating clinical research and studies from the scientific world to fuel our creations.
What are your favorite non-Maya Chia products or brands at AILLEA?
The Olverum Bath Oil (the scent is intoxicating, it is hard to pinpoint what it is but it reads a-forest-in-Japan vibes), Indie Lee's I-Recover Body Soak…and I love Jenny Patinkin's Pure Luxury Organic Bamboo Reusable Rounds - they are freaking amazing.